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Austrian holds off compatriot Leitinger to win World Championships giant slalom.
Marcel Hirscher showed the world again why he is the class act in men’s skiing with a phenomenal giant slalom victory at the 2017 FIS Alpine World #ski Championships in St. Moritz.
The combined silver medallist from earlier in the week charged down the course first time out in a scintillating time of 1:06.73 to lead from fellow Austrian Philipp Schoerghofer and France’s Alexis Pinturault.
Hirscher’s other strong rivals Matts Olsson, Henrik Kristoffersen, Roland Leitinger and Leif Kristian Haugen sat lurking just outside the top three ahead of the decisive second run.
American David Chodounsky and Swiss slalom star Justin Murisier both produced excellent second runs to put themselves in medal contention.
The last six skiers to go before Hirscher, though, managed to get their noses in front of those two with Austrian Leitinger carving down the course superbly in worsening conditions to take the lead with five left.
Haugen got the better of Schoerghofer, Pinturault, Olsson and Kristoffersen to guarantee a medal behind Leitinger with just Hirscher left.
With the snow coming down in blizzard conditions, the five-time overall FIS World Cup champion started his second run with a healthy advantage.
He managed to maintain most of it after navigating his way safely down the top half, then drew on all his experience on the bottom half to edge out Leitinger for gold by 0.25s and complete an Austrian 1-2.
In the process, Hirscher became the second most successful Austrian in world championship history behind Toni Sailer ahead of Sunday's slalom.
Hirscher, who has been battling flu throughout the championships, said: “Very tired at the moment. Unbelievable feeling. One of the toughest races we have had all season. I am very thankful for this.”
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